Bits and Pieces

Posted on October 25, 2008
Filed Under linguistics, meditation, Taylor Ellwood, writing | Leave a Comment

I finished reading Language, Thought and Reality by Benjamin Lee Whorf and waltzed right into Defining Reality by Edward Schiappa. Whorf’s work was interesting and makes me wonder how much Burroughs might have read or if Burroughs came to similar conclusions about language independently. Defining Reality, by Schiappa, is a favorite book of mine and is a logical extension of Whorf’s work and argument that language shapes our conceptions of reality. A definition describes agency, and can be an attempt to control the conceptualization of reality.

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I’ve been thinking lately that the more a person exposes him/her self to a particular meme, the more desensitizied s/he becomes to that particular meme. Initially the meme is quite pervasive and powerful, but later it becomes boring, something all too often encountered. You begin to realize that you’ve been there again and again and again. What makes a meme live? The value and meaning associated with it, but desensitization can take the meaning out of a meme, make it part of the background. Eventually it fades away, the lustre lost in the glow of new memes or simply the lack of meaning a person finds in all those crazy memes. At some point a meme without meaning is a person without water. Dehydrated and dying. Memes only have value when they are provided meaning…even if that meaning is as simple as fulfilling a desire such as hunger or sex.

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